Sunday, May 29, 2016

If you're not going to do it right, don't bother doing it at all

There are few things that I remember from my dad during my childhood. My dad was usually working 12 hr days and not really a kid kind of person anyway. One of the lessons he taught me was that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. I'm sure this was meant to inspire me, to push me to do better and to complete what I was doing to the best of my ability.
Instead, it paralyzed me.
There is nothing I do that I don't think about whether or not I can do it "right." I worry about being perfect. I worry about failing. I worry about what will my parents say. I am 42 years old and I still can't get out of bed in the morning without wondering if somehow I have failed and my parents will point that out.
This fear is so pervasive that I have a pile of wooden furniture rotting in the backyard, wasting away to nothing because I am so paralyzed that I cannot even begin to do something productive with it. What if I mess it up? What if I finish it and nobody wants to buy it? What if it sits there staring at me like one great big reminder that I didn't do it well enough or right enough? What if...What if...What if?????
I have a long list of failures and they haunt me each and every day.
My biggest regret however is that I have passed this onto my son. Feeling like a failure in life is perhaps that saddest thing there is. Feeling like there is no reason for anyone to love you because you have not earned it. Feeling like it won't matter if you're not around because you don't ever do anything right anyway.
With so many things in my life I am trying to deal with now, half way through life and I wish for him to deal with NOW, when he has so much of his life to live and enjoy without the haunting words whispering in the back of his mind.
I want to be able to fail and enjoy it. I want to be able to choose a path and not have it go right. I want to be able to screw up so badly that there is nothing left but a pile of burning ash that I can look at, pull myself up by my boot straps, and walk away dusting ashes off my feet as I go. I want to try. I want to play. I want to fail. I want to fail. I want, I want, I want to absolutely, positively, disastrously, epically, monstrously FAIL, walk away and be OK.
Watch me, here I go.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

If I could do anything

If I could do anything I would find every little girl and boy who ever wished upon a star and teach them astronomy and math. I would gather children around to study music and poetry. No more reading just to read, READ TO LEARN and GROW and ACHIEVE and BE.
We would run races and there would be winners and losers and some people would have to learn to be nice and others would have to learn to be disappointed.
We would climb trees and get stuck and figure it out and sometimes fall out and get hurt, but get up again and climb the next smaller tree.
We would roller skate with real lace up skates and skin out knees and elbows. We would learn to skate backwards and gain a new perspective on things.
We would lay in the grass and study bugs, they would get dirty and it would be ok. Maybe some earthworms would cross our paths, maybe a snake and it would be ok too.
We would sing songs and dance dances.
They would set goals and achieve them. This is the only way to gain real self esteem, the kind that counts for something, not blown up ego.
I would take all the children who don't have parents who care for them and I would teach them how life should be. Parents should feed their kids and give them safe, warm places to live. Kids should not be afraid because monsters should be pretend.
I would take all the parents who were never taught to ride a bike or never learned to swim and let them learn and not drown.
I would hope to catch them before they decide not to care anymore. There are many people who don't read and don't learn and don't grow. School is just a place to get out of, classes are a place to complete work and learning is optional and stops when you leave school.
"Become as a little child" means more than humility, it is being teachable and growable and joyful (I know growable not a word, but you get what I mean).
So now, go find one child and do this for them. One child who doesn't have adults to show them how. One child who dreams of the sky and stars, but is forced to live on the ground.
Especially a teenager because they are the most lost. They don't know how to be an adult, but refuse to be a child. Give them a hug.
If no one did this for you, do it for yourself. Find some lace up skates and skate to the park. Wear bubble wrap in case you fall.
If I could do anything, I would do it all.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

I came across this on Pinterest and it's really fitting right now for me in my life. These are emotional mountains that I need to conquer and starting with #1 is as good an idea as any.

I don't know where I picked up the idea that I wanted, or needed, to be right. I have fought arguments for no good reason and no good ending. I need to feel justified. I need to feel respected. Sometimes, I just want the other person to know that they are NOT right. So, giving it up right now. Here's hoping for the best and some good stories to share.

Just now I thought of one. I had a long conversation with my sister yesterday and we discussed some of the things that have helped her overcome her depression and instead of listening and learning I spent the whole time telling her how I was doing it and how what she had to say did not apply to me because I was doing it my own way which was just as good...blah, blah, blah...
Oh, yes, I have just a little bitty need to be right, occasionally, all the time.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Forgive or fester?

Today was actually a good day. 90% of it went fine. We spent a good day with friends at a water park celebrating not returning to school. I got to swim and enjoyed the sun  (and the shade). I got to show off my new bathing suit bottoms that I made last night and it was fun.
Then we went to the Scout Court of Honor and I realized that since Sunday I have been festering. See, on Sunday, about mid way through church it dawned on me that my whole car situation was a result of other people not doing what they should. I am losing the financial battle because of other people's poor choices and I don't know how to handle it. I saw a particular person today and wanted to shout and swear and make sure he knew exactly what he had done to put me in this awful situation that I don't know how to get out of.
I'm scared and frustrated and I don't know what to do and so it feels good to focus my anger on the person in front of me that I can get angry about. The person who hit my car is long gone. They will probably never be found and even if they are the chances they have insurance to solve this for me are slim and none. It doesn't make me feel any better to be mad at a faceless minivan driving away. But the person who put me in the situation to be there in the first place. He's right in front of me and it feels empowering to want to make sure he knows what he has done. It doesn't help that I was mad at him before this anyway.
So, now the choice. Do I continue to fester? Do I continue to drink the poison hoping it will make someone else sick? Do I continue to refuse to forgive because it gives me something to hold on to when there doesn't seem to be anything else to prop me up? Do I "let it go"?
Even as I type this I know my choice. I can feel the peace coming if I choose to accept it. I can feel the tears brimming even though crying won't help. Slowly drop by drop I hope stress is leaving. Breath by breath I want to feel ok. For now I shrug, get a glass of water and head to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I'm sure there will be more tears and pain and frustration before all this is over and forgiving him doesn't change the problem I was mad about in the first place. I still have to confront and stand strong to change the future and hope that I am never put in this position again.
Looking for the help of angels, pretty sure I have lots of "earthly angels" who love me around doing what they can.
Peace, love and hugs to all.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

So, today totally sucked!

I stayed up waaaaay too late last night working on a lesson plan I am teaching in two weeks, for no apparent reason. I was so tired I didn't even put the clean sheets on my bed and I woke up at 6am to go to the bathroom. I forced myself to go back to sleep.
Needless to say that when my alarm went off I did not spring from bed and rush off to all the things I had to do today. So, we were running late when I stopped to buy bottles of water and race off to a scout service project. It surprised me when my card was declined and I realized that the check I mailed to the DMV two days ago had already cleared and bounced. Six weeks it takes them to get me the stickers, but two days to take my money.
We drove like the wind, didn't stop for breakfast and made it five minutes late to the project my son was in charge of-not a good start. Three boys showed up, no leaders, no tools. I piled them in and we headed out to pick up a shovel at a near by house, picked up another boy who arrived just as we left and suddenly I didn't have enough seats for all the boys. Have I mentioned these are teenage boy scouts and I'm not supposed to be in charge of them?
It was blazing hot and the project as dirty and annoying. Nearing the end I piled cut branches into my car to take to the recycling bin and left the side door to my car open so I could collect more bags of greenery. Bent over picking up a bag I hear a crunch, a car crashing crunch. I see a silver mini van pulling away from my car and rush over to see if it was actually damaged. The minivan speeds away down the street.
The door won't shut, the driver door won't open. I have a car full of spider filled branches and no way to get 5 boys home.
Thanks to the help of friends the boys got home. I tied the door shut as much as it will close. It's still open about 5 inches, but I can drive it. The police are going to check the exit cameras at Leisure World and hopefully catch the idiot that did this. Maybe miraculously they will even have insurance. Probably not, and the money I earned this week will go not to my car payment or getting the oil change and new tire I need and the mattress my son needs because he's now too tall for his childhood twin, but to the deductible.
Someday they will know that they destroyed the only transportation of a poor single mom struggling to feed and clothe and bed a growing teenage boy and that their choice to run away cost me more than I can afford, because I couldn't even afford my regular life let alone another $500 to throw away because they were selfish narcissistic jerks.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Paddling your own canoe...or in this case kayak

Strange how the deepest thoughts can come from the strangest places. Today I took my son and the daughter and son of a friend out kayaking in the canals in Huntington Harbor. 
They were out of the single kayaks I had reserved, so Shaun and her daughter had to share a double kayak, while I paddled a double with the 7 year old. I watched them head one way, and then the other, constantly zig zagging across the canal, gradually making it forward. I mentioned it once, pointing out the complete waste of energy it took to cruise for a moment and then paddle twice as hard the other direction.
I, on the other hand, was paddling myself with the "help" of a very energetic seven year old boy who repeatedly thrust his paddle into the water to stop our forward progression not understanding that his attempts to paddle too were making my life harder. 
But still, I looked at the big kids and thought about how much easier it was to just do it myself rather than having to coordinate with someone else. For the past 13 years I have been largely "doing it myself" raising a boy, trying to be both stay at home parent and working parent all in one magnificent slip of the wand. 
Several times in the past 13 years I have been grateful there is no one to compromise with. I can do it my own way and get it done, no one to fight with, no one to stand in my way. I wish I had someone to have fun with and help out, but when it comes down to brass tacks, I kind of like my solitary life and only having to clean up my own mess in the bathroom. 
Continuing on with all my mixed metaphors. On the way back from our lunch stopping point the big kids got it together. They figured it out. Even being misdirected and having to take the long way, they beat us back to our starting point by quite a bit of time. 
I was also held up by mini man wanting to swim along side the kayak rather than ride inside. I was often back paddling in order to not get ahead and when he tired he hung onto the back making it nearly impossibly to make headway. 
I thought again about doing it myself. How long it takes to do it all on your own with a boy in tow; how tired I was about half way through and still paddling away mind over matter; how much I wanted to just make him get in the kayak so I could be done already, but I let him play and enjoy himself instead. 
There have been many times in the past more than a decade that I wish I didn't have to do it myself. It would have been nice to have a fairy Godmother solve it for me. For many years I was tired, ok I still am. For many years I did what I didn't want to do so that he could play and enjoy himself. I have made more sacrifices than I can remember in order to be and do what was best for him.
In a few short years he will leave the nest. I'll be back to paddling my own kayak all by myself. It will be easier, maybe I can actually start that career I've always wanted. Life will flow without all the stops and starts and worries over whether or not he's safe and keeping up. But, I will miss him more than I could possibly imagine, and as for the past 13 years, I wouldn't trade my kayak with him as my passenger for all the single kayaks in the world. 
Once he's gone, I may enjoy the single kayak life for a while or decide to invite a new passenger in as long as they are willing to be a partner, not a drag. When it works, it works better than a single paddle ever could. When it's bad, it's way worse than any amount of work on your own. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm grateful for the past and all the paddling has given me muscles I never knew were possible and never thought I wanted. 
Here's to new adventures and many more canals to discover. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life is messy

A few years ago I started a blog with my friend because we wanted to make and sell aprons.
She wanted What a mess, but it was taken, so I suggested dirty mamas.
The first time I told a friend, she looked at me as though she had heard wrong and I just laughed. We are dirty mamas, because life is messy and our aprons will keep you clean.

So, this is my place to write and share about my messy life as a single, trying to be stay at home, working, home schooling mom. 

Tonight I am packing and preparing to go stay with my friend's kids for a few days while she and her husband go on vacation. My son is 15, it's not like he'll die staying with my parents in the 4 days I'm gone. The thing is that in all his almost 15 1/2 years I've only ever left him once. He's left me to go to his dad's and camp, but I've only ever gone away when he was already gone so he didn't know.

Maybe it's just me, but him being a teenager actually makes it worse. At 5 he probably would have just had a fun week away from mom. At 15 I worry more what he is or is not doing and if it could possibly kill him to spend 4 complete days watching videos on his phone. I'm pretty sure he won't brush his teeth and may or may not shower. There's no way to know if he'll eat anything with any nutritional value. In short, I'll miss being needed. 

hit counter